Singapore Airlines (SIA), which is one of the world’s leading airline operators, says it will soon launch a loyalty wallet application that will be powered by blockchain technology. This app will be used for its KrisFlyer frequent flyer program, which will enable travelers to spend their air miles at its retail partners. With this program, frequent flyers will be able to spend their accumulated frequent flyer miles, just as they would cash, with ease.
Thin on Detail
Right now, the project is still quite thin on detail. However, what is known is that SIA will deploy a private blockchain, which will see participating partners and merchants work together to make payments in accumulated points. Thus far, SIA has confirmed running a successful proof-of-concept trial in collaboration with Microsoft and KPMG Digital Village, located in Singapore.
This latest move is an endorsement of the blockchain by one of the most popular and highly rated airlines globally. This is also the national airline of Singapore, a country which serves as a major transit hub of Asia. The CEO of SIA was quite happy that his company was the first in the world to launch a blockchain-powered loyalty digital wallet. He stated,
This groundbreaking development in which we will be using blockchain technology to ‘digitalize’ KrisFlyer miles is a demonstration of the investment we are making to significantly enhance the digital side of our business for the benefit of our customers.
The application is expected to become available to customers in the next six months. To launch a blockchain wallet program, the company is currently engaged in negotiations with retail merchants in Singapore. However, it is expected that the program will soon reach a global audience.
Airlines Are Investing in Blockchain and Digital Currencies
This initiative by SIA to try and utilize blockchain technology is indicative of the growing trend by airlines and airports to embrace digital currency and blockchain. Just a month ago, Brisbane International Airport announced it would start to accept cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin at retail stores located inside its terminals. A Polish airport has been accepting Bitcoin since as early as 2015. Last year, Peach Aviation became the first airline in Japan to accept digital currency payments.
In other use cases, S7, a Russian airline, has been using the Ethereum blockchain to sell flight tickets. Air New Zealand also recently confirmed that it has been conducting research into the use of the Ethereum blockchain. Thus far, it claims to have identified quite a few potential use cases. AXA, the French insurance giant, has also been utilizing the Ethereum blockchain to compensate air travelers as part of flight delay insurance.
Finally, Lufthansa, the German airline, also invested in a blockchain startup via an ICO last year. Clearly, the airline industry understands the potential that the blockchain holds.
What do you think about the SIA blockchain loyalty app? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.